ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (Feb. 17, 2016) –The man suspected of killing his niece and her 4-year-old son in their Zionsville house was found dead in a downtown Indianapolis hotel room following a manhunt that began Wednesday morning.
Officers were called to a home in the 6800 block of Old Hunt Club Road around 8:50 a.m. in rural Zionsville. Investigators say a neighbor called police after finding the bodies of 31-year-old Katherine Janet Giehll and 4-year-old Raymond Peter Giehll. Authorities say Giehll and her son died from gunshot wounds.
Authorities soon launched a manhunt for Giehll's uncle, 61-year-old Lucius Oliver Hamilton III, a Wabash College employee, who checked out a 2013 Dodge full-size van at 9:30 a.m. from the college.
The all-male college was placed on lockdown as authorities searched every building for Hamilton.
“I will not stop until I find you. We have a great team assembled here, and we will find you," Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said at a press conference. "And we will find you today. I suggest if you see this or if you hear this that you turn yourself in immediately.”
Nielsen said the Boone County Sheriff's Office was collaborating with police in Zionsville, Whitestown and Lebanon as well as Indiana State Police to solve the case. Federal agencies have also been called to assist, Nielsen said, including the U.S. Marshals Service and FBI.
Around 3:30 p.m., Sheriff Nielsen said they tracked Hamilton to the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites in the 120 block of West Market Street downtown, and about 20 minutes later, he announced that Hamilton shot and killed himself inside a hotel room.
Investigators believe the motive behind the killings was financial gain from a family trust.
According to Indiana State Police, law enforcement officers knocked on the door, and Hamilton responded, “Yes.” Upon realizing it was law enforcement at the door, two shots were fired. Contrary to what authorities previously reported, no shots were fired at officers.
Officers determined with electronic equipment that Hamilton was in the room but not moving, so at that time they entered the hotel room with the assistance of hotel employees. Authorities say Hamilton died from a single gunshot wound to the head, using a semi-automatic pistol. Officers found alcohol and prescription drugs inside the hotel room.
The vehicle Hamilton was last seen in was located and will be processed as part of the crime scene; the location of the vehicle is not being released.
“I could not be more proud of all the law enforcement officers involved today. Agencies from across the state, including our federal partners, offered every resource available to locate Hamilton. We were able to utilize these resources to work, process and secure the scene. Through many investigative techniques, we were able track Hamilton down to a specific location in downtown Indianapolis where he cowardly took his life instead of choosing to face justice for his actions. My heart goes out to the Giehll family and to the first responders that witnessed this horrific scene," said Sheriff Nielsen.
Hamilton is listed on Wabash College's website as a senior major gifts officer and was last seen on campus Wednesday morning. As a result of the investigation, classes at Wabash College were canceled for the first time since President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963.
Investigators believe the motive for the killings was for financial gain from a family trust.
Ron Evans, head of school at Traders Point Christian Academy, where 4-year-old Raymond attended, sent this letter to families:
Dear Traders Point Christian Schools family,
We have been informed that one of our 3 year-old students [sic], Raymond Giehll, and his mother were found dead this morning in their home. He attended Mrs. Jane Evans' 3's class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. There is no earthly explanation for this but we can trust God even in the midst of this tragedy. Please join us in praying for Mr. Giehll, the extended family, and our EC staff as they process through an incredibly difficult time.
Timeline of Zionsville double homicide and search for suspect:
8:45 a.m. Police are called to house in the 6800 block of Old Hunt Club Road for a death investigation.
9:30 a.m. According to Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen, Lucius Oliver Hamilton III checked out a white Dodge van from Wabash College with license plate WA25.
11 a.m. Sheriff Nielsen says an adult female and a young child were found dead in the house, and it’s being investigated as a double homicide.
12:30 p.m. Wabash College is on lockdown, and they cancel classes for remainder of the day.
1:10 p.m. Sheriff Nielsen says prime suspect in the Zionsville double homicide is Wabash College employee Lucius Oliver Hamilton III.
2:12 p.m. Sheriff Nielsen identifies victims as Katherine Janet Giehll, 31, and her son, Raymond Peter Giehll IV, 4.
3:30 p.m. Sheriff Nielsen announced that authorities tracked Hamilton to a Hilton hotel room
3:50 p.m. Sheriff Nielsen announced that Hamilton shot and killed himself inside the hotel room
5:10 p.m. Authorities release motive in killings, say Hamilton sought financial gain from a family trust